Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Uncle Jimmy

Last week my uncle (mom's brother), passed away very suddenly from an aortic aneurysm. It was very unexpected, and a devastating blow to my family, as we have been dealing with my aunt's stage 4 cancer. 

In memory of my Uncle Jim, I want to post the eulogy that my mom wrote for her big brother. My mom is a devoted Catholic woman, as you can tell in some of the things she says. A lot of times we can have misperceptions of the way we view the Catholic Church, but as I am taking church history classes, I am gaining such a respect for so much of the beauty that is associated with our brothers and sisters in the early days of following Jesus. While it is beautiful that my mom has a connection with her loved ones in Heaven, and asks them to pray for us, I still try to remind her that she has a one way connection to God our Father... our Creator. Isn't it interesting how distanced a Catholic can feel from God? I hope that in my eulogy, it's more about me finally being at rest with Jesus, rather than with other family members. I don't say these things to discount what my mom had to say.. but only to introduce (remind) you to a God in Heaven who loves you very much. 

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To all of you, thank you for your loving support to Joyce, Jimmy, his family and my brother Matt as they sit before you today with heavy hearts. I am Jim’s sister, Elaine, and I along with Terry, Peggy and Matt would like to share a few thoughts with you about our brother.

I am 11 years younger than Jim so I always thought of him as truly an older brother and protector. One of my earliest memories of Jim includes being carried on his shoulders to watch a parade, and him saving me from the run away hunting dogs my father always had. The dogs were usually penned up and we were not allowed to play with them. So when they were let out to run a little it scared me to death and Jim was always there to rescue me. He was in high school then and I’m sure had better things to do, but I always knew he was there for me. I spent a summer with him after my mother died. Jimmy was about 10 or 11 and I remember Jim trying to entertain us as he proceeded down a dirt alley going the wrong way down a one way street.. We were all yelling at him and laughing saying, “You’re going the wrong way. He just laughed and said, “What do you mean, I’m only going one way”!!! Of course who can forget the abrupt car stops so the ant could cross the road!!! Mostly I remember him taking my side in any squabble, much to the dismay of my sister, Terry. This continued, much to my delight, right up to his last visit to California not long ago. My sisters remember late night phone calls to our brother about homework assignments or just giving a listening ear if things hadn’t gone as we wanted with mom or dad. We may have been far away in miles but we always stayed close in spirit and we will all cherish the time we had with him.

The bible says, “ Be not afraid I go before you always, come follow me and I will give you rest.” I believe that Jim lived this. He challenged life and lived up to those challenges. He was a man of few words and strong faith. The Lord is now fulfilling his promise of rest and peace for the end of his journey.

My brother will be remembered as caring and hard working. He was a loving husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend. He may have left us here but I can only imagine his welcome by all the other Sunbury’s in heaven. I am sure Uncle Bill pulled right up in his Pepsi truck to give him a lift to the club for a heck of a pinochle game!

Give Mom and Dad a hug for us, and until we see you again, pray for us.

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